Parr’s Chevron has become institution

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, February 26, 2003

Parr’s Chevron has been an institution in Demopolis for 60 years. Go by any morning and you’ll find local folks discussing the day’s events over a cup of coffee, or drive by on Friday night and you might see a few students gathering to plan the night’s events.

It is one of the brightest spots on Highway 80, a beacon for local and out-of-town motorists 24-hours-a day.

The Demopolis Area Chamber of Commerce honored Parr’s, Inc. and Parr’s Chevron with the Business of the Year award. The business that the late Howard Parr began in 1942 has proved successful commercially and been a valuable community asset as well.

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Howard Parr borrowed $500 from his father and bought stock in a station at the corner of Washington and Main across from Commercial Bank, said his widow Irma Parr.

Property for a new station was later bought on Highway 80, and they moved in 1956. "It’s been torn down and completely rebuilt" since the move, she said. It was originally a regulation full service station. " We just had a great business."

As Howard Parr was not able to manage a full service business, the station was changed to a food mart/gas station.

Son Higley Parr originally went to Birmingham to work for Chevron, but then came back to work for his dad.

The company also became a distributor in the 1950’s for Standard Oil/Chevron.

Irma Parr is appreciative of all the loyal customers in the area. "We try to give service," she said. Prices for petroleum may rise and fall, but there is always customer service.

In addition, "I think we’ve got a safe business," Higley said. "We keep a clean business….We try to have a well lighted place, a friendly environment."

Irma Parr said the family has always liked Demopolis. "Howard liked everything about it," she said. "He knew what was going on."

The family company have tried to give back to the community over the years, Irma said. Parr’s contributes to local schools and sports organizations.

Jim Parr has been involved with Christmas on the River for many years, and served as the festival chairman last year. He is also serving his first term on the chamber board of directors.

His community effort is based on promoting the company name, Jim said. "I don’t do it for any trade (reasons)," he said. "I could care less if my name is ever mentioned. I just enjoy doing it."